I love Heston Blumenthal because he’s the antipathy of the power chef. Self taught, a bit of a nerd, he’s had a few famous disasters (food poisoning at his Michelin starred Fat Duck restaurant to name one) and is a bit of an average looker. Yet, he’s hugely popular, much of it on the back of his spectacular molecular gastronomy dishes and tricks. I certainly enjoy watching his shows but have had no desire to spend endless hours and take countless steps to re-create any of his dishes. Until last Friday.
I had invited celebrated guest post writer Robert and his wife Bronlynn over for a ‘South American Visa Fest’ so we could come to terms with some paper work and planning. This invitation was extended from interstate so I was racking my brains to come up with a menu that would involve as many store cupboard staples as possible and minimum effort upon my return from Sydney on Friday evening. The week before I had been catching up with my SBS food viewing including the Chocolate episode of ‘How To Cook Like Heston’. The light bulb came on and I decided to have a go at his Iced Chocolate Wine for dessert.
The final result looks impressive and the taste is…well….the taste is like a chocolate wine granita. I served the mixture in some funky wine glasses with a Ines Rosales Olive Oil Torta on the side, for a bit of crunchy contrast and a hint of aniseed flavour. There are only 3 key ingredients (4 in my version**) and it takes next to no time to prepare, though you do need to allow time or the mixture to freeze. Make sure you use a decent red wine. It doesn’t have to be Chateauneuf du Pape but it shouldn’t be a $4.99 cleanskin either. Use something you would enjoy on a Friday night after a tough week, as your benchmark. Iced Chocolate Wine is a grown up dessert that will have you thinking that it tastes unusual yet so familiar and before you know it, you’ll have finished the lot. Even those who aren’t keen on desserts will enjoy it as it’s not overly sweet. So impress your family and friends this weekend. Thanks Heston for making the Visa Fest so easy.
Iced Chocolate Wine
- 2 x 750ml bottles of decent red wine ( I used Eldertron E Series Shiraz/Cabernet/Sauvignon)*
- 1/3 cup caster sugar**
- 150gm good quality chocolate (min 40% cocoa solids – max 50%)
- 375ml skim milk
- Place wine and sugar into large saucepan and bring to boil. Stir in sugar until dissolved.
- Once wine has been boiling for a minute or two, use a gas gun or kitchen blow torch (or be quick with a match) to light alcohol in saucepan.
- Burn alcohol off. This will take quite a few minutes as it’s two bottles of wine, not a tablespoon of brandy over the Christmas pudding. (Have a lid handy in case you need to extinguish the flames if they get too big!)
- Continue to boil wine until it has reduced by half. It should not be syrupy.
- Set aside and allow to cool.
- Break up chocolate into chunks and place in a heatproof bowl.
- Place skim milk in a (different) saucepan and bring to a near boil.
- Pour skim milk over chocolate and stir to dissolve chocolate. It will be like a weak hot chocolate (not thick).
- Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
- When both liquids are cool, pour wine into chocolate milk and combine with a fork or whisk.
- Line a colander with a new dish cloth (Chux). Only use as a single layer, do not fold or double up.
- Place colander over original wine saucepan (now empty) or clean bowl and pour wine and chocolate mixture in.
- Do not be alarmed if it appears that all the chocolate is lining the dish cloth. These are the chocolate solids that are not part of the final dessert. If the cloth gets blocked, use a spoon to agitate the solids away from the base of the colander, to allow more liquid to strain through.
- When the mixture has filtered through, remove colander, draw up corners of dish cloth and give it a gentle squeeze. There will be quite a lot of liquid in the cloth that will drain into the bowl but be careful not to squeeze the solids into the mix. Set aside cloth to wash out.
- Pour the mixture into two shallow trays or one lamington tray and place in freezer. Allow to freeze for at least 4 hours.
- When you are ready to serve, take a tray from the freezer and drag a fork across the tray of frozen chocolate wine. It will form crystals similar to a granita. Pile the scraped crystals into serving dishes.
- *Heston suggests a Maury wine. This is a sweet red wine from the Maury AOC region in France. Not only would the cost be prohibitive in Australia (if you could get it at all), I am unlikely to just happen to have two bottles of any sweet red wine knocking around. Therefore, I used a good fruit driven Australian red blend and added some sugar for sweetness.
- ** 1/3 of a cup of sugar was sufficient to add sweetness. You may want to add a tablespoon or two more but the final reduction should not be syrupy. There is still the chocolate to add. If you only have a darker chocolate available (ie: near the 50% solids end of the spectrum), you may need the extra tablespoon of sugar.
- If you are serving the Iced Chocolate Wine on the same or next day, try to freeze the mixture in shallow metal trays. The metal helps to keep the ice as cold as possible when you’re scraping it. It melts very quickly so you need all the help you can get to maintain the freezing point.
- If you have time, you can scrape a layer of the Iced Chocolate Wine off, place it into a plastic container with a lid and return both the tray and container to the freezer. An hour later you can do another scrape and add that to the container. Very soon you will have a container full of Iced Chocolate Wine and it will save you the hassle of trying to scrape and serve to an expectant audience before it all melts.